IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell (right).

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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 RULES OF FISHING TACTICS ARE TO BE BROKEN!

EVER thought we anglers are crazy? Or is it really fishing that is bonkers?

Like many of you, I have left the house for the waterside in the dark, wet, cold, snow, ice, plague of frogs, or suffering the after effects of a late Saturday night (ok maybe one of those isn’t true…).

But when you get to the bank everything is fine, the drug of fishing is a miracle cure for many illnesses and problems.

Even though we might moan at the end of a bad day with a blank or no bites!

So it’s not us anglers that are crazy – with the exception of a few who shall remain nameless as I don’t fancy a swim in this cold weather, unless it’s in a nice warm pool.

So it’s the fishing that is mad! You want proof? Read on…

Think about all the watercraft you have learned; all the tricks of the trade; knowledge about catching fishing built up over many years. Then remember how many times you have found that all you know and thought was right has been proved wrong!

Here are five examples of why you should not be a slave to tradition or the rulebook. I bet you can add more:

 

“Snags always hold fish, and you will rarely them anywhere else.” Don’t you believe it!

FACT: All fish, particularly the likes of chub, just love snags and live under trees and bankside rubbish.

TRUTH: They often move home! I’ve now lost count of the times I have actually caught fish away from trees, running a float down the middle of a featureless bit of river or casting to open water in a stillwater.

LESSON: You can feed fish to get them where you want them. Remember that just like us they don’t stay indoors all day and night.

 

Light feeding can often be over cautious.

FACT: Take it little and often with feeding, particularly in the winter.

TRUTH: I’ve just heaved in the groundbait – 20 jaffa-sized balls with dead maggots – in cold, clear conditions when feeding like this isn’t meant to work.

Result… bream and a few roach queuing up to have a munch.

LESSON: Just like us, fish get hungry, even when it is cold and we don’t expect them to feed.

Don’t give them small sarnies when they fancy a feast to fatten up for the next cold spell.

You’ve nothing to lose if you weren’t getting bites anyway.

 

A bit of sunshine can be a good thing.

FACT: In bright winter conditions you will struggle to catch as fish decide to shelter their sensitive eyes and hide under cover under the light starts to fade.

TRUTH: Open water with the sun beating down on it has proved to be far better than shade on some recent trips to local lakes and the canal.No bites from under cover – all fish in the open as if they were sunbathing (ok, not much sun, but you get the idea…)

LESSON: The light is sun. Sun heats water up. Fish like it a bit warmer. Also, a wise old sage (could be Tony Keeling) once told me that rotting leaves are laying on the bottom under a lot of cover at this time of the year and put fish off feeding.

 

Boats hold fish – black bottomed ones are often best.

FACT: Moored boats are great places to fish, all species lurk under them.

TRUTH: Boats with black bottoms (well hulls might be a better word) are far better than any other colour. No, I can’t explain it. And it is always better to fish at the front end rather than the rear – fish know engines are normally at the rear and spell danger.

LESSON: Don’t just fish anywhere if you spot a nice tempting moored craft or any sort. Put a bit of thought into the best spot and always remember to plumb up too for holes and shallow spots.

 

Why start on the lightest line?

FACT: Light lines and the smallest hook possible will get you far more bites.

TRUTH: Tricky one this. Sometimes that is the case but not always. And what’s the point in getting a bite anyway if your hook and line and not up to the job of landing what you tempt into taking your bait?

LESSON: Start as heavy as you dare and scale down until you get bites. Don’t start on the lightest and smallest, snap off and possibly ruin sport for the rest of the session. Match baits to hook sizes and never ignore the hair rig.

 

COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO THE BIG ONE SHOW (full preview in the next Angler’s Mail magazine) YOU MAY SEE HIM THERE.

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